Increase access to reliable, cost-effective broadband internet

Why is this important to Colorado?

Fast, affordable broadband has become critical infrastructure for Colorado families and communities, and is broadly understood as a key economic development enabler. However, Colorado’s unique geography limits access to broadband, especially in rural areas.  Many of these same rural communities have voiced just how important broadband is for their economic growth and sustainability.

  • For example, a recent World Bank paper found that “almost every study… has found a positive economic impact from fixed broadband” (World Bank: Exploring the Relationship Between Broadband and Economic Growth, 2016)

Given the prominence of high-tech and other technology related industries Colorado must ensure it not only meets basic standards but is competitive with similar cities/areas from across the world.  

 

How do we measure success?

  • Increase the percentage of rural households with access to basic (Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defined - 25/3Mbps) broadband from 59% as of June 2015 to 85% by 2018 and 100% by 2020.
  • Increase the percentage of Statewide households with access to basic broadband from 87% as of June 2015 to 96% by 2018.
  • Increase the percentage of school districts with access to broadband that meets national standards for school connectivity from 74% in 2015 to 100% by 2018. 
Status Outcome Measure

Outcome Baseline

(June 2015)

Actual

(June 2016)

Actual

(June 2017)

Outcome Target Target Date
Rural households with access to basic broadband 59% 70% 77% 85% 2018
Statewide households with access to basic broadband 87% 94% 96% 96% 2018
% of school districts with access to basic broadband 74% 89% 94% 100% 2018

 

What actions are we taking?

The state has been active in advancing access to affordable, quality broadband for a number of years through the efforts of multiple state agencies.  The Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) plays a critical coordination role, working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE).  The state’s efforts follow the approach of the Colorado Blueprint by focusing on bottom up, locally driven needs and solutions, by actively engaging local, regional and statewide stakeholders. Some of the actions the state is taking include:

  • Supporting local communities in the creation of strategic regional broadband development plans
  • Mapping statewide broadband availability and speed to identify where further investments are needed
  • Developing a statewide asset utilization inventory and policy, which will help public and private entities more easily leverage state assets to maximize broadband access for communities
  • Organizing and publishing available funding sources that can go towards broadband infrastructure development
  • Providing grants from the Broadband Fund to deploy broadband service in unserved areas. The Broadband Deployment Board which oversees the Broadband Fund issued $2.1 million in grants to the public sector to provide Broadband coverage to 4,700 households. An additional $9.4 million has been set aside for grants in 2017. The future success of the Broadband Fund is dependent on the allocation of additional funding for grants.
  • Educating and assisting schools to apply for Federal E-Rate funding opportunities to provide access to broadband
  • Funding middle mile infrastructure projects through the DOLA Broadband Program.